H. Rept. 113-252 - 113th Congress (2013-2014)

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House Report 113-252 - EPA HYDRAULIC FRACTURING STUDY IMPROVEMENT ACT

[House Report 113-252]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


113th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    113-252

======================================================================



 
             EPA HYDRAULIC FRACTURING STUDY IMPROVEMENT ACT

                                _______
                                

October 23, 2013.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

     Mr. Smith of Texas, from the Committee on Science, Space, and 
                  Technology, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2850]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 2850) to require certain procedures 
in the conduct by the Environmental Protection Agency of its 
study of the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on 
drinking water resources, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill 
as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
   I. Amendment.......................................................2
  II. Purpose and Summary.............................................2
 III.  Background and Need for the Legislation........................2
  IV. Hearing Summary.................................................5
   V. Committee Consideration.........................................6
  VI.  Committee Votes................................................6
 VII.  Summary of Major Provisions of the Bill........................8
VIII.  Committee Views................................................8
  IX. Committee Oversight Findings....................................8
   X. Statement on General Performance Goals and Objectives...........9
  XI. New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditure9
 XII.  Advisory on Earmarks...........................................9
XIII.  Committee Cost Estimate........................................9
 XIV. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate.......................9
  XV. Federal Mandates Statement.....................................10
 XVI. Compliance with House Resolution 5.............................10
XVII.  Federal Advisory Committee Statement..........................11
XVIII. Applicability to Legislative Branch...........................11

 XIX. Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation.................11
  XX. Proceedings of the Full Committee Markup.......................12

                              I. AMENDMENT

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Study 
Improvement Act''.

SEC. 2. EPA HYDRAULIC FRACTURING RESEARCH.

  In conducting its study of the potential impacts of hydraulic 
fracturing on drinking water resources, with respect to which a request 
for information was issued under Federal Register Vol. 77, No. 218, the 
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall adhere to 
the following requirements:
          (1) Peer review and information quality.--Prior to issuance 
        and dissemination of any final report or any interim report 
        summarizing the Environmental Protection Agency's research on 
        the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking 
        water, the Administrator shall--
                  (A) consider such reports to be Highly Influential 
                Scientific Assessments and require peer review of such 
                reports in accordance with guidelines governing such 
                assessments, as described in--
                          (i) the Environmental Protection Agency's 
                        Peer Review Handbook 3rd Edition;
                          (ii) the Environmental Protection Agency's 
                        Scientific Integrity Policy, as in effect on 
                        the date of enactment of this Act; and
                          (iii) the Office of Management and Budget's 
                        Peer Review Bulletin, as in effect on the date 
                        of enactment of this Act; and
                  (B) require such reports to meet the standards and 
                procedures for the dissemination of influential 
                scientific, financial, or statistical information set 
                forth in the Environmental Protection Agency's 
                Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, 
                Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information 
                Disseminated by the Environmental Protection Agency, 
                developed in response to guidelines issued by the 
                Office of Management and Budget under section 515(a) of 
                the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act 
                for Fiscal Year 2001 (Public Law 106-554).
          (2) Probability, uncertainty, and consequence.--In order to 
        maximize the quality and utility of information developed 
        through the study, the Administrator shall ensure that 
        identification of the possible impacts of hydraulic fracturing 
        on drinking water resources included in such reports be 
        accompanied by objective estimates of the probability, 
        uncertainty, and consequence of each identified impact, taking 
        into account the risk management practices of States and 
        industry. Estimates or descriptions of probability, 
        uncertainty, and consequence shall be as quantitative as 
        possible given the validity, accuracy, precision, and other 
        quality attributes of the underlying data and analyses, but no 
        more quantitative than the data and analyses can support.
          (3) Release of final report.--The final report shall be 
        publicly released by September 30, 2016.

                        II. PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    H.R. 2850 directs the EPA Administrator to adhere to 
additional requirements in conducting its study into potential 
impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. 
The act requires the Administrator to peer review information 
prior to the issuance of any final or interim report from the 
EPA. The bill also directs the Administrator to ensure that 
possible impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water 
included in the report be accompanied by objective estimates of 
the probability, uncertainty, and consequence of each 
identified impact.

              III. BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR THE LEGISLATION

    Pursuant to Congressional direction, the EPA is undertaking 
a multi-year Study of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic 
Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources. The study results are 
widely anticipated to have significant public policy 
implications. Committee correspondence and testimony at 
hearings since the inception of the report have emphasized the 
importance of assuring the study be conducted in the most 
scientifically sound manner possible, adhere to all appropriate 
EPA peer review requirements, and present its conclusions in 
relevant context.
    The ongoing study is being conducted by EPA's Office of 
Research and Development (ORD). The Fiscal Year 2010 Department 
of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies 
Appropriations Act (P.L. 111-88) directed EPA to carry out the 
study in accordance with the following report language:
    ``Hydraulic Fracturing Study.--The conferees urge the 
Agency to carry out a study on the relationship between 
hydraulic fracturing and drinking water, using a credible 
approach that relies on the best available science, as well as 
independent sources of information. The conferees expect the 
study to be conducted through a transparent, peer-reviewed 
process that will ensure the validity and accuracy of the data. 
The Agency shall consult with other Federal agencies as well as 
appropriate State and interstate regulatory agencies in 
carrying out the study, which should be prepared in accordance 
with the Agency's quality assurance principles.''
    In February of 2011, EPA released a draft study plan for 
public comment and review by its Science Advisory Board (SAB), 
and a final study plan was released in November 2011.\1\ The 
purpose of the study, as outlined in the final study plan, is 
to ``elucidate the relationship, if any, between hydraulic 
fracturing and drinking water resources'' and ``assess the 
potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water 
resources and to identify the driving factors that affect the 
severity and frequency of any impacts.''\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Environmental Protection Agency, Plan to Study the Potential 
Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources, November 
2011. Accessible at: http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/
documents/hf_study_plan_110211_final_508.pdf
    \2\Ibid.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The study plan identified the following fundamental 
research areas and questions:
           Water Acquisition: What are the potential 
        impacts of large volume water withdrawals from ground 
        and surface waters on drinking water resources?
           Chemical Mixing: What are the possible 
        impacts of surface spills on or near well pads of 
        hydraulic fracturing fluids on drinking water 
        resources?
           Well Injection: What are the possible 
        impacts of the injection and fracturing process on 
        drinking water resources?
           Flowback and Produced Water: What are the 
        possible impacts of surface spills on or near well pads 
        of flowback and produced water on drinking water 
        resources?
           Wastewater Treatment and Waste Disposal: 
        What are the possible impacts of inadequate treatment 
        of hydraulic fracturing wastewaters on drinking water 
        resources?
    On December 21, 2012, EPA released a ``Progress Report'' to 
this ongoing study which provided information on current work 
being done by the Agency, including the status of research 
projects that are anticipated to inform the final study.\3\ The 
progress report did not include conclusions regarding the 
relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water 
resources. The final report, which has been classified by the 
Agency as a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment, is 
anticipated to be released in draft form in late 2014 for peer 
review and public comment.\4\ However, recent testimony before 
the Committee indicated the peer review process will continue 
into 2015, suggesting that a final report will not be released 
until that year or later.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\News Release, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Releases 
Update on Ongoing Hydraulic Fracturing Study, December 21, 2012. 
Accessible at: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/
d0cf6618525a9efb85257359003fb69d/4af0024955d936ef85257adb0058aa29 
!OpenDocument
    \4\Environmental Protection Agency, Stakeholder Engagement Roadmap 
and Peer Review Overview for EPA's Study on the Potential Impacts of 
Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources. Accessible at: http:/
/www2.epa.gov/hfstudy/stakeholder-engagement-roadmap-and-peer-review-
overview-epas-study-potential-impacts
    \5\Testimony of David A. Dzombak before the Subcommittee on 
Environment and the Subcommittee on Energy, Lessons Learned: EPA's 
Investigations of Hydraulic Fracturing, July 24, 2012. Accessible at: 
http://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/
documents /HHRG-113-SY18-WState-DDzombak-20130724_0.pdf
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Prior to the release of the Progress Report, the EPA Office 
of Research and Development requested the Scientific Advisory 
Board to conduct a ``consultation'' review of the research that 
would be found in that report. To this end, the ad hoc SAB 
panel, known as the Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory 
Board Panel\6\ participated in a consultation with the full SAB 
in May of this year. In this meeting, the ad hoc SAB panel 
responded to charge questions from the Agency and provided 
input and comments on the Progress Report. The written comments 
submitted by the panelists were compiled into a report, which 
was released on June 25.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\Members of Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory Panel. 
Accessible at: http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabpeople.nsf/
WebExternalSubCommitteeRosters?OpenView&committee= 
BOARD&subcommittee=Hydraulic %20Fracturing%20Research 
%20Advisory%20Panel
    \7\EPA Science Advisory Board Consultation on EPA Office of 
Research and Development Report, Progress Report: Potential Impacts of 
Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources--December 2012. June 
25, 2013. Accessible at: http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabproduct.nsf/
5F72227CF643BF8785257B9500764E6B/$File/
Individual+Comments+from+Members+of 
+Science+Advisory+Board+Hydraulic+Fracturing+ 
Research+Advisory+Panel+on+EPA.pdf
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Throughout this process stakeholders have expressed 
concerns that the study had the potential to produce results 
that lacked context and were based on what were possible 
outcomes rather than likely or probable outcomes, as well as 
concerns with the peer review process. Several issues with the 
report were identified in an independent review of the EPA's 
study plan conducted by Battelle, which included 
recommendations for strengthening the study. Other issues and 
questions have been raised by the SAB or addressed in 
recommendations it has provided to the Administrator.
    In its 2011 review of the draft study plan, the Science 
Advisory Board recommended to the Administrator that ``EPA 
consider the four steps of the risk assessment paradigm (i.e. 
hazard identification, exposure assessment, dose-response 
assessment, and risk characterization) to assess and prioritize 
research activities''.\8\ In the more recent consultation 
conducted by the SAB Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory 
Panel on the Progress Report, several reviewers also commented 
on the absence of a risk assessment. One reviewer noted ``There 
is no quantitative risk assessment included in EPA's research 
effort. Thus, the reader has no sense of how risky any 
operations may be in ultimately impacting drinking water. This 
is also a significant limitation of the work.''\9\ Another 
reviewer noted that ``To simply discount the regulatory network 
in place and model ``what if'' and ``worse case'' scenarios 
will not produce realistic results.''\10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\EPA Science Advisory Board to EPA Administrator, SAB Review of 
EPA's Draft Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan, August 4, 2011.P. ii. 
Accessible at: http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabproduct .nsf/0/
2BC3CD632FCC0E99852578E2006DF890/$File/EPA-SAB-11-012-unsigned.pdf
    \9\Consultation, p. 60.
    \10\Consultation, p. 99.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Another concern expressed by stakeholders was EPA's past 
failure to designate the study as a Highly Influential 
Scientific Assessment, or HISA. According to a review of the 
study plan conducted by Battelle, ``Such designation triggers 
more rigorous standards for peer review, and thus study design, 
data quality, and transparency.''\11\ Battelle also noted that 
``Even in the absence of such a formal designation, there is no 
direct evidence documented in the study plan or in associated 
documents that EPA followed its quality policy in framing the 
study objectives and developing the study design .  .  .''\12\ 
While EPA has since designated the final study as a HISA, there 
is still a need to ensure that the requisite policies and 
procedures governing such scientific undertakings are followed.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\Battelle, Review of EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan, 
November 2011. P. 5. Accessible at: http://anga.us/media/press/
CA5CEA92-0C88-CC29-EAADA8AD4F447B5E/files/final_epa_ 
study_plan_review_061112.pdf
    \12\Ibid.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Committee concerns with EPA's overall study design and 
implementation, as well as specific aforementioned issues such 
as risk assessment and peer review, were detailed in numerous 
letters to the agency in 2011 and 2012.\13\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\October 26, 2011 letter from Reps. Ralph Hall, Andy Harris, and 
Paul Broun. Accessible at http://science.house.gov/sites/
republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/Letters/10-26-
2011%20Letter%20to%20Jackson.pdf; June 7, 2012 letter from Rep. Andy 
Harris. Accessible at http://science.house.gov/sites/
republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/Letters/060712_%20 
Harris%20to%20Lisa%20Jackson.pdf; and October 16, 2012 letter from 
Reps. Hall, Harris, and Dana Rohrabacher. Accessible at: http://
science.house.gov/sites/republicans .science.house.gov/files/documents/
10_16_2012%20Science%20Committee%20to%20Lisa%20Jackson_0.pdf
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          IV. HEARING SUMMARY

    Although there was no legislative hearing that specifically 
focused on H.R. 2850 as introduced, on July 24, 2013, the 
Subcommittee on Environment and the Subcommittee on Energy held 
a joint oversight hearing, entitled, Lessons Learned: EPA's 
Investigations of Hydraulic Fracturing, which demonstrated the 
need for the bill. The Subcommittees received testimony from 
witnesses affiliated with the EPA, the Chair of the SAB's 
Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory Panel, the Utah 
Department of Natural Resources, and Cornell University. The 
Subcommittees examined concerns raised by Members of the 
Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory Panel, including that 
``[t]here is no quantitative risk assessment included in EPA's 
research effort.'' Dr. Brian Rahm of the New York Water 
Resources Institute testified that ``industry and state 
agencies have a great amount of data and expertise that we 
should be using . . . when it comes to looking at risks and 
impacts and assessing those.'' Dr. David Dzombak, Chair of the 
SAB panel, said that EPA ``committed to in the final report 
putting the various components of the study in a risk 
framework'' when pushed by the panelists.
    Additionally, the Subcommittee on Energy and the 
Subcommittee on Environment held a hearing on April 26, 2013, 
entitled, A Review of Federal Hydraulic Fracturing Research 
Activities, which examined the research being undertaken by the 
EPA, the Department of Energy (DOE), and the United States 
Geological Survey (USGS) pursuant to an interagency Memorandum 
of Understanding signed by the three agencies. At that hearing 
the EPA's Senior Science Adviser at the Office of Research and 
Development provided testimony on the ongoing drinking water 
study.
    The Committee also held several hearings in the 112th 
Congress examining EPA's hydraulic fracturing research. On 
February 1, 2012, the Subcommittee on Energy & Environment held 
a hearing entitled, EPA Fractured Science--Examining EPA's 
Approach to Ground Water Research: The Pavillion Analysis. The 
hearing examined EPA's approach to ground water research in 
Pavillion, Wyoming. The Subcommittee received testimony from 
the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 8. On May 11, 2011, 
the Full Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a 
hearing to review the technology and practices of hydraulic 
fracturing for energy production entitled, Review of Hydraulic 
Fracturing Technology and Practices.
    In addition to these hearings focused specifically on 
hydraulic fracturing, the Committee held three additional 
hearings in the 112th Congress with EPA witnesses, at which the 
ongoing study received significant attention and discussion, 
including: a March 10, 2011, full committee hearing on An 
Overview of the Fiscal Year 2012 Research and Development 
Budget Proposals at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency; a 
November 17, 2011, Energy and Environment Subcommittee hearing 
on Fostering Quality Science at EPA: The Need for Common Sense 
Reform; and a March 6, 2012, hearing on An Overview of NOAA & 
EPA FY13 Budget.

                       V. COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    On July 30, 2013, H.R. 2850 was introduced by Rep. Lamar 
Smith and referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and 
Technology.
    On August 1st 2013, the Committee on Science, Space, and 
Technology met in open markup session and adopted H.R. 2850, as 
amended, by voice vote. Further, the Committee ordered H.R. 
2850 favorably reported to the House, as amended, by voice 
vote.

                          VI. COMMITTEE VOTES

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires the Committee to list the record votes 
on the motion to report legislation and amendments thereto. A 
motion to order H.R. X favorably reported to the House, as 
amended, was agreed to by voice vote.
    During Full Committee consideration of H.R. 2850, the 
following amendments were considered:


              VII. SUMMARY OF MAJOR PROVISIONS OF THE BILL

    H.R. 2850 codifies EPA's designation of the final report as 
a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment (HISA) by directing 
the Administrator of the Office of Research and Development, 
prior to the issuance and dissemination of any final or interim 
report, to consider such reports HISAs.
    The bill further requires the Administrator to ensure peer 
review of the report is conducted in compliance with the 
guidelines that govern HISAs. This includes the guidelines from 
the EPA's Peer Review Handbook, which lays out the Agency's 
policies and procedures governing peer review; the EPA's 
Scientific Integrity Policy, which establishes the Agency's 
framework to promote scientific integrity and promote 
standards, including those governing information quality, 
communication with the public and the use of peer review and 
advisory committees; and the OMB's Final Information Quality 
Bulletin for Peer Review, which establishes government-wide 
guidance aimed at enhancing the practice of peer review of 
government-wide science documents.
    The Administrator is also required to follow the guidelines 
for dissemination of influential scientific information as 
outlined in the Agency's Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing 
the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information 
Disseminated by the Environmental Protection Agency. These 
guidelines outline EPA's policy and procedural guidance for 
ensuring information quality
    Finally, the bill requires the Administrator to include a 
risk assessment with any identification of possible impacts of 
hydraulic fracturing on drinking water. This will ensure that 
any identification of possible risks is accompanied by an 
assessment of such risks, which will provide context regarding 
the likelihood that such impacts might occur.

                         VIII. COMMITTEE VIEWS

    H.R. 2850 improves the hydraulic fracturing study conducted 
by the EPA by requiring an objective evaluation of the possible 
impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. To 
this end, the bill requires that any final or interim reports 
be subject to peer review prior to issuance. The bill also 
requires the agency to place the potential impacts in context 
by providing objective estimates of uncertainties and 
consequences.
    In the absence of these changes, EPA's scientific review of 
hydraulic fracturing would be insufficient to appropriately 
inform decision makers about the adequacy of existing 
groundwater protections. H.R. 2850 resolves this by requiring 
the evaluation the Committee believes necessary for the 
Administrator to make factual determinations.

                    IX. COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee held an oversight 
hearing and made findings that are reflected in the descriptive 
portions of this report.

        X. STATEMENT ON GENERAL PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the performance goals and 
objectives of the Committee are reflected in the descriptive 
portions of this report, including the goal to improve the 
Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) ongoing study of the 
potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water.

 XI. NEW BUDGET AUTHORITY, ENTITLEMENT AUTHORITY, AND TAX EXPENDITURES

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee adopts as its 
own the estimate of new budget authority, entitlement 
authority, or tax expenditures or revenues contained in the 
cost estimate prepared by the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional 
Budget Act of 1974.

                       XII. ADVISORY ON EARMARKS

    In compliance with clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI, 
the Committee finds that H.R. 2850, the ``EPA Hydraulic 
Fracturing Study Improvement Act'', contains no earmarks.

                     XIII. COMMITTEE COST ESTIMATE

    The Committee adopts as its own the cost estimate prepared 
by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to 
section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

             XIV. CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the following is the cost estimate 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 
402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                   Washington, DC, August 30, 2013.
Hon. Lamar Smith,
Chairman, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2850, the EPA 
Hydraulic Fracturing Study Improvement Act of 2013.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Susanne S. 
Mehlman.
            Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 2850--EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Study Improvement Act of 2013

    H.R. 2850 would require the Environmental Protection Agency 
(EPA) to follow certain procedures related to its ongoing Study 
Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water 
Resources. (At the request of the Congress, EPA began this 
mulityear study in 2010; a progress report was issued in 
December 2012, and the draft report is expected to be released 
for public comment and peer review in 2014.) This legislation 
would require that any interim or final report pertaining to 
EPA's study be considered as a Highly Influential Scientific 
Assessment (HISA). With a HISA designation for the reports, EPA 
must adhere to more stringent standards for peer review, meet 
certain criteria related to data quality, and meet certain 
procedures for the dissemination of scientific, financial, or 
statistical information. This legislation also would require 
EPA to include estimates of the probability, uncertainty, and 
consequences of each identified impact on drinking water. 
Finally, H.R. 2850 would require that the final report be 
released by September 30, 2016; currently, there is no deadline 
for the report.
    According to EPA, enacting this legislation would require 
additional resources primarily to address the requirement to 
include probability assessments in the study. The ongoing study 
is expected to discuss and describe appropriate levels of 
uncertainty associated with hydraulic fracturing but will not 
include any probability assessments. To include a 
scientifically sound assessment of probability with the 
appropriate level of detail, EPA would need to obtain 
additional site-specific data related to well construction, 
hydraulic fracturing, and wastewater management practices. 
Based on information from EPA, CBO estimates that implementing 
the changes proposed by this legislation would cost about $1 
million annually, totaling $5 million over the 2014-2018 period 
assuming availability of appropriated funds. That funding would 
provide for additional personnel and related administrative 
expenses.
    Enacting H.R. 2850 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    H.R. 2850 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Susanne S. 
Mehlman. The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                     XV. FEDERAL MANDATES STATEMENT

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act.

                     XVI. COMPLIANCE WITH H. RES. 5

    A. Directed Rule Making. This bill does not direct any 
executive branch official to conduct any specific rule-making 
proceedings.
    B. Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.

               XVII. FEDERAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE STATEMENT

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act were created by this 
legislation.

               XVIII. APPLICABILITY TO LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act.

                    XIX. SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Sec. 1. Short Title

    This section establishes the short title as the ``EPA 
Hydraulic Fracturing Study Improvement Act.''

Sec. 2. EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Research

    This section places requirements on the Administrator of 
the Office of Research and Development at the Environmental 
Protection Agency in carrying out the Study of the Potential 
Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources.
    This section further requires that any interim or final 
report pertaining to the EPA's study on the relationship 
between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water be considered 
as a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment (HISA). This 
codifies EPA's designation of the final report as a HISA, and 
also requires the Administrator to abide by the more stringent 
standards for peer review and information quality that must 
accompany such a designation. The guidelines the bill 
specifically requires the Agency to follow are those outlined 
in the 3rd Edition of the Agency's Peer Review Handbook and its 
current Scientific Integrity Policy, and the Office of 
Management and Budget's Final Information Quality Bulletin for 
Peer Review.
    The Administrator is also required in this section to 
provide objective estimates of the probability, uncertainty, 
and consequence of any possible impacts of hydraulic fracturing 
on drinking water identified throughout the study and ensure 
that such estimates be as quantitative as possible taking into 
account the current risk management practices of states and 
industry.
    This section requires that the final report be publicly 
released by September 30, 2016.

              XX. PROCEEDINGS OF THE FULL COMMITTEE MARKUP



                   PROCEEDINGS OF THE FULL COMMITTEE



                          MARKUP OF H.R. 2850,



           THE EPA HYDRAULIC FRACTURING STUDY IMPROVEMENT ACT

                              ----------                              


                        THURSDAY, AUGUST 1, 2013

                  House of Representatives,
       Committee on Science, Space, and Technology,
                                           Washington, D.C.

    The Committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:03 a.m., in Room 
2318 of the Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Lamar Smith 
[Chairman of the Committee] presiding.
    Chairman Smith. The Committee on Science, Space, and 
Technology will come to order. Without objection, the Chair is 
authorized to declare recesses of the Committee at any time. 
Pursuant to Committee Rule II(f) and House Rule XI(2)(H)(4), 
the Chair announces that he may postpone roll call votes on 
matters in which the yeas and nays are ordered until the end of 
the markup.
    Welcome to today's Full Committee business meeting. We meet 
today for two purposes: to authorize the issuance of subpoenas 
and to mark up H.R. 2850, ``The EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Study 
Improvement Act.''
    Chairman Smith. Pursuant to notice, I now call up H.R. 
2850, introduced by me along with Subcommittee Chairman Stewart 
and Subcommittee Chairman Lummis. And the clerk will report the 
bill.
    The Clerk. H.R. 2850, to require certain procedures in the 
conduct by the Environmental Protection Agency of its study of 
the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water 
resources.
    [H.R. 2850 appears in Appendix I]
    Chairman Smith. Without objection, the bill will be 
considered as read, and I will recognize myself for five 
minutes for an opening statement.
    This item that we consider, the ``EPA Hydraulic Fracturing 
Study Improvement Act,'' is a simple, four page bill that 
addresses the Environmental Protection Agency's ongoing study 
of the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking 
water.
    The bill does two things. First, it requires the EPA to 
follow basic scientific principles in carrying out the study, 
which has been designated a Highly Influential Scientific 
Assessment.
    Second, the bill requires that the EPA's study go beyond 
simply identifying ``possible impacts'' of hydraulic fracturing 
on drinking water. The study must provide objective estimates 
of the probability, uncertainty, and consequence of any such 
impacts.
    This addresses a concern identified on multiple occasions 
by stakeholders and independent experts since the EPA first 
proposed its study design in 2011. Requiring the EPA to provide 
context to any identified risk will maximize the study's 
utility to both scientists and decision-makers. And it will 
limit the possibility that findings will be misinterpreted or 
misused.
    This basic principle has been emphasized repeatedly in 
Committee hearings and correspondence over the last two years. 
And its inclusion will enhance not only the credibility of the 
EPA's work on hydraulic fracturing but also our ability to 
ensure continued safe and responsible production of America's 
vast oil and gas resources.
    And that concludes my opening statement.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Smith follows:]
               Prepared Statement of Chairman Lamar Smith

    The next item we consider today is H.R. 2850, the ``EPA Hydraulic 
Fracturing Study Improvement Act.''
    This simple, four-page bill addresses the Environmental Protection 
Agency's (EPA's) ongoing study of the potential impacts of hydraulic 
fracturing on drinking water.
    The bill does two things. First, it requires the EPA to follow 
basic scientific principles in carrying out the study, which has been 
designated a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment.
    Second, the bill requires that the EPA's study go beyond simply 
identifying ``possible impacts'' of hydraulic fracturing on drinking 
water. The study must provide objective estimates of the probability, 
uncertainty and consequence of any such impacts.
    This addresses a concern identified on multiple occasions by 
stakeholders and independent experts since the EPA first proposed its 
study design in 2011.
    Requiring the EPA to provide context to any identified risks will 
maximize the study's utility to both scientists and decision-makers. 
And it will limit the possibility that findings will be misinterpreted 
or misused.
    This basic principle has been emphasized repeatedly in Committee 
hearings and correspondence over the last two years. And its inclusion 
will enhance not only the credibility of the EPA's work on hydraulic 
fracturing but also our ability to ensure continued safe and 
responsible production of America's vast oil and gas resources.

    Chairman Smith. The gentlewoman from Texas, Ms. Johnson, is 
recognized for hers.
    Ms. Johnson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will be relatively 
brief in my remarks on H.R. 2850 because there is really not 
much to say about it.
    Unfortunately, it is another example of this Committee's 
majority doing political messaging instead of legislating. If 
the majority were really interested in legislating on the issue 
ostensibly being addressed by this bill, they would have had 
meaningful Subcommittee hearings to examine the potential 
impact of the congressionally mandated study that this bill 
could have. They would have given EPA time to assess that 
impact and provide input to the Subcommittee jurisdiction. They 
would not have skipped Subcommittee and instead rushed this 
bill to the Full Committee markup one day before the August 
recess.
    I have to conclude that this bill is not a serious bill. 
It, coupled with the ill-advised move at today's business 
meeting to push for subpoenas against EPA, as well as 
potentially any nongovernmental custodians of the data that the 
Chairman is seeking, is consistent with the majority's ongoing 
attempt across the House of Representatives to discredit EPA's 
scientific work and to undermine the ability of the new EPA 
Administrator to do her job.
    I understand that Representative Bera may offer an 
amendment today to this bill, and I will support that 
amendment, but I wanted to be clear. I do not intend to support 
this bill and will not vote for it. We all need to remember 
that the study that this bill will impact has been well 
underway and the study's planned review by EPA's Scientific 
Advisory Board. Members of Congress want the study to proceed 
unimpeded so that we can get its results in a timely fashion.
    This bill is at best a piece of political messaging, at 
worst, something that can seriously delay and undercut the 
congressionally mandated study. This bill will go nowhere in 
the Senate but it should not even be coming out of this 
Committee.
    I yield back the balance of my time.
    [The prepared statement of Ms. Johnson follows:]
       Prepared Statement of Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson

    Mr. Chairman, I will be relatively brief in my remarks about H.R. 
2850, because there really is not much to say about it. It 
unfortunately is another example of this Committee Majority doing 
political messaging instead of legislating. If the Majority were really 
interested in legislating on the issue ostensibly being addressed by 
this bill, they would have had meaningful Subcommittee hearings to 
examine the potential impact on the congressionally mandated study that 
this bill could have. They would have given EPA time to assess that 
impact and provide input to the Subcommittee of jurisdiction. They 
would not have skipped Subcommittee and instead rushed this bill to a 
Full Committee markup one day before the August recess.
    I have to conclude that this bill is not a serious bill. It, 
coupled with the ill-advised move at today's business meeting to push 
for subpoenas against EPA as well as potentially any non-governmental 
custodians of the data that the Chairman is seeking, is consistent with 
the Majority's ongoing attempts across the House of Representatives to 
discredit EPA's scientific work and to undermine the ability of the new 
EPA Administrator to do her job.
    I understand that Congressman Ami Bera (D-CA) may offer an 
amendment today to this bill, and I will support that amendment. But I 
want to be clear--I do not support this bill and will not vote for it. 
We all need to remember that the study that this bill will impact has 
been well underway and the study's plan reviewed by EPA's Science 
Advisory Board. Members of Congress want the study to proceed unimpeded 
so that we can get its results in a timely fashion.
    This bill is at best a piece of political messaging, and at worst, 
something that could seriously delay or undercut the congressionally 
mandated study. This bill will go nowhere in the Senate, but it should 
not even be coming out of this Committee.
    I yield back the balance of my time.

    Chairman Smith. Thank you, Ms. Johnson. I will recognize 
myself for a unanimous consent request, which is to enter into 
the record a letter from the Chamber of Commerce supporting 
H.R. 2850. That letter was sent to both myself and the Ranking 
Member.
    [The information follows:]
        Letter from the Chamber of Commerce supporting H.R. 2850



    Chairman Smith. The gentleman from California, Dr. Bera, is 
recognized for the purpose of offering an amendment.
    Mr. Bera. Mr. Chairman, I have got an amendment at the 
desk.
    Chairman Smith. And the clerk will report the amendment.
    The Clerk. Amendment to H.R. 2850 offered by Mr. Bera of 
California.
    [The amendment of Mr. Bera appears in Appendix I]
    Mr. Bera. I ask unanimous consent that the amendment be 
considered as read.
    Chairman Smith. Without objection, the amendment will be 
considered as read and the gentleman is recognized to explain 
his amendment.
    Mr. Bera. Thank you, Chairman Smith.
    I understand the desire of the majority to provide context 
to the ultimate findings of the study. And, you know, as a 
doctor, I certainly would not want to tell a patient that they 
have a risk of a particular illness without qualifying that 
risk as much as I can, and that is the intent of this study.
    However, I also have concerns that the current language of 
the bill perhaps inadvertently could lead to a significant 
delay in the release of an in-depth, critically important study 
that the EPA is currently carrying out to determine whether 
there is a relationship between hydraulic fracturing and 
groundwater contamination. This study is an important component 
to informing science-based national and state policies in this 
area going forward. I am told that such a delay is not the 
majority's intent and any delay in the study and a delay in the 
EPA reporting their findings will continue to hinder both the 
scientific community and industry. So let's hold to the 
original intent of the study and, you know, put those findings 
forward.
    Therefore, I am offering this amendment to ensure that this 
is the case. The amendment simply states that the final report 
will be released no later than September 30, 2016, which is 
consistent with the study's current timeline. I urge my 
colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the amendment 
as it in no way would undermine the majority's intent while 
also ensuring that the report's schedule will not intentionally 
or otherwise be further delayed by the language of the 
underlying bill.
    And I yield back.
    Chairman Smith. Thank you, Mr. Bera, and I will recognize 
myself in support of the amendment.
    This amendment--and, by the way, let me say at the outset 
this amendment very much improves the bill and I appreciate the 
gentleman's offering it.
    The amendment requires the EPA to release its final report 
of its ongoing study of the potential impact of hydraulic 
fracturing on drinking water resources by September 30, 2016. 
The EPA has continuously insisted that the final draft report 
of results should be expected late next year, 2014, with peer 
review to continue into 2015. So it appears that, according to 
the Agency's own projections, they should be able to meet this 
deadline of 2016.
    Additionally, this study has been ongoing for three years 
and the 2016 deadline is another three years away. While we 
support the EPA taking a deliberate approach to get the science 
right, we also should ensure that this study is completed in a 
timely fashion and not unduly prolonged or otherwise delayed. 
Given that the Agency testified last week that the study is 
being conducted within a risk framework, inclusion of estimates 
of probability, uncertainty, and consequences should not 
lengthen the study beyond the deadline that this amendment 
proposes.
    This amendment gives the EPA ample time frame in which to 
complete the study while also ensuring that the study is 
completed without further delay or expansion of its scope. For 
these reasons, I support the amendment and urge my colleagues 
to support the amendment as well.
    Are there any other Members who wish to be heard on the 
amendment? If not, the vote is on the Bera amendment.
    All in favor, say aye.
    Opposed, nay.
    The amendment is agreed to.
    Are there any other amendments? If there are no further--
the gentleman from New York, Mr. Maffei.
    Mr. Maffei. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
    Chairman Smith. The gentleman is recognized for five 
minutes.
    Mr. Maffei. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
    This is an important issue to me and my district. My 
district is in upstate central New York and relies on a clean 
water economy. Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes, Onondaga Lake, 
all of these natural resources support tourism, agriculture, 
and wineries, clean water-dependent industries, and thousands 
of jobs.
    We fight a constant battle to preserve our clean waters. We 
fight against pollution and invasive species. Our communities 
rely on water resources and, as such, New York has a State 
moratorium on hydrofracking. But we face a new threat, the 
uncertainty created by even the possibility that hydrofracking 
may have a disaster that would threaten our clean water 
economy. That reputation even is a threat. So our watershed and 
clean water know no state boundaries, and the Federal 
Government shouldn't turn a blind eye to this issue. So that is 
why I am pleased that the EPA is looking at it. It is also why 
I am a cosponsor of the bipartisan FRAC Act, which would put 
fracking under the Safe Drinking Water Act, making the practice 
subject to Federal regulation.
    Now, the EPA is studying the effects of hydrofracking on 
drinking water and the bill we are considering today may 
postpone the publication of some of those findings. If, as 
supporters say, fracking is safe, we should be happily 
anticipating the EPA's findings and not working to postpone 
them or even a piece of them. If, as supporters say, fracking 
is safe, then they also should have no issue creating a level 
playing field and applying the safe drinking water standards.
    Therefore, I will respectfully oppose this bill today and I 
encourage my colleagues on the Committee to also oppose the 
bill. I thank the Chairman and I yield back.
    Chairman Smith. Okay. Thank you, Mr. Maffei. Are there 
others?
    The gentlewoman from Oregon, Ms. Bonamici, is recognized.
    Ms. Bonamici. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
    I want to thank the Chairman for his interest in this 
issue. I know that we are all interested in getting the best 
results from the EPA on this important study.
    Just a week ago yesterday, the Chair mentioned to me this 
concept that we are marking up today and asked me to keep an 
open mind. I did. I reviewed the Chair's memo and the language 
of the bill multiple times. I just received that language on 
July 29, 3 days ago. I also reviewed the Committee memo and the 
EPA's progress report.
    I concluded that Section 1 of the bill isn't necessary. The 
EPA's own progress report from December of 2012 on page 4 
states ``the EPA has designated the report of results as highly 
influential scientific assessment, which will undergo peer-
review by the EPA's Science Advisory Board, an independent and 
external Federal advisory Committee that conducts peer-reviews 
of significant EPA research products and activities.'' So the 
designation is in place already and that has already triggered 
the strictest peer-reviewed requirements.
    With regard to Section 2, this section appears to impose 
new and ostensibly different research requirements on the EPA. 
Unfortunately, because there was no hearing on this bill, we do 
not have information from the EPA regarding whether these 
requirements will take additional time, and if so, how much 
time. And importantly, we don't have information about what 
additional resources, if any, the EPA might require to comply 
with this language.
    And I do want to note what has happened in the meantime. 
The majority has proposed cutting the EPA's budget by 34 
percent. So without more information about what would be 
required to comply with the provisions in this bill, I will be 
opposing it at this time.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I yield back.
    Chairman Smith. Okay. Thank you, Ms. Bonamici.
    Are there other Members who wish to be heard? If not, the 
question is on the bill, H.R. 2850, as amended. The question is 
not on the bill. The question is on the--it is on the bill.
    On the 2850 as amended, those in favor, say aye.
    Opposed, nay.
    In the opinion of the Chair, the ayes have it and the bill 
is ordered reported favorably.
    Pursuant----
    Mr. Maffei. Mr. Chairman, on that I request a roll call 
vote. For the bill to be reported favorably, I request a roll 
call vote.
    Chairman Smith. Would the gentleman approach the Chair for 
a minute? Okay.
    A roll call vote has been requested. Pursuant to Committee 
Rule II(f) and House Rule XI(2)(H)(4), proceedings on this vote 
will be postponed.
    Mr. Maffei. I thank the Chair.
    Chairman Smith. Okay. Let me announce to the Members that 
there are a couple of classified briefings still ongoing and 
Members may be attending those classified briefings. So we are 
going to postpone proceedings on the three pending votes and we 
will give Members 30 minutes advanced notice of the specific 
time to which we will roll those votes.
    So, once again, everyone will have 30 minutes notice. It 
will be this afternoon and we will stand in recess until that 
time.
    [Recess.]
    Chairman Smith. The Science, Space, and Technology 
Committee will reconvene.
    And before we get to the scheduled and postponed votes, I 
want to take a minute to recognize Ellen Scholl. Ellen, stand 
up just for a second so everybody can say hello and goodbye. I 
want to recognize Ellen for her hard work and dedication to the 
Full Committee and the Energy and Environment Subcommittees 
over the past 2-1/2 years. After this markup, Ellen will be 
packing up for a long drive back to the great State of Texas 
where she will return to UT Austin to pursue a graduate degree 
at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Ellen, we thank you for 
your outstanding service to this Committee and we certainly 
wish you well in your next adventure.
    Chairman Smith. The gentleman from New York, Mr. Maffei, is 
recognized.
    Mr. Maffei. Yes, Mr. Chairman, thank you. I ask unanimous 
consent that I be allowed to withdraw my request for a roll 
call vote on the pending matter.
    Chairman Smith. Okay. Without objection, I thank the 
gentleman. The question is on the bill H.R. 2850, as amended.
    Those in favor, say aye.
    Opposed, nay.
    The ayes have it and the bill, as amended, is agreed to. 
Now, without objection, the Motion to Reconsider is laid upon 
the table, and I move that the bill H.R. 2850, as amended, be 
favorably reported to the House and that staff be authorized to 
make any necessary technical and conforming changes. And 
without objection, so ordered.
    If there is no further discussion, that completes our 
business and this concludes the Full Committee markup. Without 
objection, the Committee stands adjourned.
    [Whereupon, at 4:32 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
                              Appendix I:

                              ----------                              


H.R. 2850, THE EPA HYDRAULIC FRACTURING STUDY IMPROVEMENT ACT, Section-
           by-Section Analysis, Amendments, Amendment Roster


                     Section-by-Section Analysis of

     H.R. 2850, THE EPA HYDRAULIC FRACTURING STUDY IMPROVEMENT ACT

Section 1. Short Title

    This section establishes the short title as the ``EPA Hydraulic 
Fracturing Study Improvement Act.''

Section 2. EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Research

    This section places requirements on the Administrator of the Office 
of Research and Development at the Environmental Protection Agency in 
carrying out the Study of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing 
on Drinking Water Resources.

    The bill requires that any interim or final report pertaining to 
the EPA's study on the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and 
drinking water be considered as a Highly Influential Scientific 
Assessment (HISA). This codifies EPA's designation of the final report 
as a HISA, and also requires the Administrator to abide by the more 
stringent standards for peer review and information quality that 
accompany such a designation. The guidelines the bill specifically 
requires the Agency to follow are those outlined in the 3rd Edition of 
the Agency's Peer Review Handbook and its current Scientific Integrity 
Policy, and the Office of Management and Budget's Final Information 
Quality Bulletin for Peer Review.

    The Administrator is also required to provide objective estimates 
of the probability, uncertainty, and consequence of any possible 
impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water identified throughout 
the study and shall ensure that such estimates be as quantitative as 
possible and take into account the current risk management practices of 
states and industry.
                               Amendments



                            Amendment Roster